Have you ever eaten a nice, warm cookie that just melts in your mouth? Did you ever wonder how that cookie had the perfect balance of dough to chocolate chip? If you want to know, keep on reading to find that secret out. When first asked about the topic of chemistry, most people will say they know nothing or they will give you the most basic they know. What they fail to understand is that chemistry is made up of several complex concepts. The concept I will be focusing on is conversions. The Merriam-Webster (n.d) dictionary defines conversions “as the act or process of changing from one form, state, etc., to another”. In chemistry we use conversions to convert across units. Whether you know it or not you are constantly using conversions in your daily life. In this post I am going to explain a connection to your everyday life and also in an academic career.
Chemical conversions within chemistry consist of several different steps. In determining the process of these steps most find conversion factors across units. In the encyclopedia its states that
“Most chemical manufacturing processes consist of a sequence of steps, each of which involves making some sort of change in either chemical makeup, concentration, phase state, energy level, or a combination of these, in the materials passing through the particular step”
most work with conversions in chemistry is converting across units of measurements. For example, when taking a chemistry course you could come across a question such as “an automobile engine displaces a volume of 498 cm3 in each cylinder. What is the displacement of a cylinder in cubic inches, in3?” (McFavilen, 2016) In this question you would have to be able to convert from units of cm3 to units of in3.
Conversions don’t always just happen in a chemistry class room but also in a place that you most likely go to everyday. Almost everyone has gone into their kitchen and has prepared a meal, when preparing a meal, the recipe calls for different units of ingredients. In most cases, recipes are either sized up to make more, or sized down to make less. If a recipe calls for 2 cups water, but all you have is table spoons, how are you going to get to 2 cups water? You are going to convert. Another example is if a recipe calls for a ½ pint of milk, but you have no measurements for pints, you could use conversions to find out ½ pint is equal to 1 cup. If you cook a lot, then you mostly know how to convert across with different measurements. Conversions are important to cooking because if you use the wrong measurements your meal will not be good. It is important to know common conversions while cooking. When I cook, I never know if I am going to be cooking for just myself or my whole family. Even when I cook for my whole family, I always have a different amount of food to make. I have measurements memorized so it is easy to make a meal sized down or sized up.
Growing up I always thought of different career paths I could take. I was constantly running around the house pretending to be a doctor, nurse, vet or surgeon. I knew going into the medical field requires knowledge in both math and science. Chemistry is a part of science that plays a major role in the medical field. One important concept in chemistry that relates to the medical field is conversions.
Now that I am in college, I have decided on a major, and it is nursing. Nursing requires skills and knowledge in math and science. As I began taking chemistry, I had no idea how all this nonsense even related to nursing until I learned about conversions. Nurses use conversions every single day. Conversions allow a nurse to have the life of a patient in his/her hand. One wrong dosage can severely harm a patient. In the administration of drugs nurses must know how to convert different medications depending on an individual’s weight and disease. It’s very crucial for nurses to know conversions because even though they don’t get to choose the dosage to give a patient, they must be able to double check the doctor’s dose because they also make mistakes. For example, if a dosage order for 20 cc’s of a medication for a patient of 130lbs, a nurse must be able to convert the correct dosage and double check if the doctor’s dose is the correct amount for their patient. Knowing this concept is very critical for a nurse. Saying that you have a life in your hands is no understatement when it comes to the administration of drugs. I think it is so unbelievable one wrong unit off of a medication that is meant to heal an individual could also end their life. In an article from a nursing blog it says
“There are many known ways to calculate drug dosages, but the technique in mastering it is to determine the simplest formula available. You should also know the basics very well so you can simplify answers in every drug dosage calculation you make”.
I think personally believe every individual should know how to do a simple conversion, it is essential to everyday life activities. Whether you are just cooking, or if you choose to go into a medical field career or any other career that requires knowledge in conversions, it’s a great concept to know. My mom always tries to say she never uses anything she learned in high school or in her semester of college, but then I pointed out things in her every day routine that she does use her knowledge from math and science in. People don’t even realize the knowledge that they use every day, it becomes more of a habit to do than a problem to solve. Next time you think that everything you have learned was unnecessary think about how you do your everyday life skills.
- Chemical conversion. (2002) McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Engineering. Retrieved November 23 2016 from http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/chemical+conversion
- Helmenstine, T. (2016). How To Cancel Units in Chemistry. Retrieved December 10, 2016, from http://chemistry.about.com/od/chemistry101/ss/g2kgsteps.htm
- Learning, M. W., Dictionary. (n.d.). Conversons. Retrieved November 15, 2016, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conversion
- McFavilen, M. (2016). Conversions. Lecture presented in Chandler Gilbert Community College, Chandler.
- Measurements and Conversion. (n.d.). Retrieved December 10, 2016, from https://www.pinterest.com/beckisue54/measurements-and-conversion/
- Middleton, J. (Ed.). (2012, October 12). How to ensure patient safety in drug dose calculation. Retrieved November 15, 2016, from https://www.nursingtimes.net/how-to-ensure-patient-safety-in-drug-dose-calculation/5050561.article
- A Nurse’s Ultimate Guide to Accurate Drug Dosage Calculations. (2014, July 14). Retrieved December 10, 2016, from https://www.nursebuff.com/pharmacology-for-nurses/